ABC Gives Dictator Maduro Megaphone to Spread Lies, Bash America With Impunity [UPDATED]

UPDATE, 11:15 p.m. Eastern: In sharp contrast to ABC's softball interview with Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro, Univision anchor Jorge Ramos and his crew were detained by the dictator after 17 minutes and intense questions. According to Univision, "Maduro ended the interview after Ramos showed him a video of youths picking through garbage in the streets. After Maduro left his staff seized the video and Univision equipment, including TV and phones." After about two and a half hours in a dark room, Ramos and his team were released.

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In an exclusive interview that aired during Monday’s edition of World News Tonight, ABC correspondent and weekend anchor Tom Llamas sat down with Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro in his presidential palace. At no point during the shared moments of Maduro’s incessant anti-U.S. bashing did Llamas push back or grill him on what he was saying. Instead, ABC eagerly spread Maduro’s anti-U.S./Trump sentiment without fact-checks or contradictions. Llamas even seemed to suggest that President Trump was the problem.

“Tonight, in a rare interview inside of his presidential palace, Nicolas Maduro telling ABC News he believes the U.S. is preparing a military invasion to get him out,” Llamas declared after brushing over Maduro’s regime setting aid trucks on fire.

Throughout the report, Maduro made numerous false and conspiratorial statements without an apparent fact-check or contraction from Llamas, even during his voice-over narrations recorded after the fact:

NICOLAS MADURO (via translator): The United States wants Venezuela’s oil and they're having to go to war for that oil.

LLAMAS: And today, Vice President Mike Pence in Colombia to meet with Venezuela's interim president, Juan Guaido, and other South American leaders opposed to Maduro.

MADURO: Everything that the United States government has done has been condemned. They're trying to fabricate a crisis to justify political escalation and a military intervention in Venezuela to bring a war to South America.

LLAMAS: But Maduro refusing to budge. He says Guaido is a puppet of the United States and that his country will not beg for the U.S. help.

MADURO: Our movement came from the depths of the Venezuelan people. We've been governing democratically for 20 years. Everything that we are, everything that we have, we have because of the popular vote.

 

 

First off, Llamas failed to rebuke Maduro’s claims that the U.S. wanted to invade Venezuela for its oil. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, “The United States is now the largest global crude oil producer in the world.” It was even a point brought up during President Trump’s State of the Union address earlier this month.

It’s mind-boggling that Llamas wouldn’t report that the U.S.’s stance against Maduro’s regime had actually been backed up by many world powers, who also recognized interim-President Juan Guaido as the rightful leader. And while Maduro asserted his country has had free and fair elections for “20 years,” Llamas failed to point out how those same powers viewed the last (and many) Venezuelan elections as illegitimate.

As he was wrapping up his segment, Llamas pressed how Maduro really wanted to speak with Trump to educate him about Venezuela. The ABC reporter then seemed to suggest President Trump was the problem:

David, we wrapped up that sit-down interview just moments ago, and President Maduro made it very clear, he wants to talk to President Trump, he wants to shake his hand and tell him he's confused about Venezuela. The problem is, the Trump administration has made it clear, they do not want to negotiate with him.

This ridiculous interview came almost two weeks after ABC’s softball interview between Good Morning America co-host Robin Roberts and alleged hoaxer Jussie Smollett, which begs the question: Does ABC know how to conduct a serious and critical interview?

The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:

ABC’s World News Tonight
February 25, 2019
6:42:52 p.m. Eastern

DAVID MUIR: We're going to turn now to an ABC News exclusive. Amid those horrific pictures from Venezuela, the food and aid from the U.S. set on fire, tonight, the embattled leader, Nicolas Maduro, trying to hold on, sitting down just moments ago with our Tom Llamas. Maduro with a message for President Trump and his administration tonight.

[Cuts to video]

TOM LLAMAS: Tonight, the tension building in Venezuela's power struggle. Aid trucks set on fire over the weekend, as opposition groups tried in vain to bring over much-needed food and medical supplies, donated by the United States. Tonight, in a rare interview inside of his presidential palace, Nicolas Maduro telling ABC News he believes the U.S. is preparing a military invasion to get him out.

You think the U.S. Wants to invade Venezuela?

NICOLAS MADURO (via translator): The United States wants Venezuela’s oil and they're having to go to war for that oil.

LLAMAS: And today, Vice President Mike Pence in Colombia to meet with Venezuela's interim president, Juan Guaido, and other South American leaders opposed to Maduro.

MADURO: Everything that the United States government has done has been condemned. They're trying to fabricate a crisis to justify political escalation and a military intervention in Venezuela to bring a war to South America.

LLAMAS: But Maduro refusing to budge. He says Guaido is a puppet of the United States and that his country will not beg for the U.S. help.

MADURO: Our movement came from the depths of the Venezuelan people. We've been governing democratically for 20 years. Everything that we are, everything that we have, we have because of the popular vote.

[Cuts back to live]

LLAMAS: David, we wrapped up that sit-down interview just moments ago, and President Maduro made it very clear, he wants to talk to President Trump, he wants to shake his hand and tell him he's confused about Venezuela. The problem is, the Trump administration has made it clear, they do not want to negotiate with him. David?

MUIR: Tom Llamas with us tonight from Venezuela, interviewing President Maduro just a short time ago. Tom, our thanks to you.

NB Daily Foreign Policy South America Venezuela Bias by Omission Conspiracy Theories Broadcast Television ABC World News Tonight Video Tom Llamas Nicolas Maduro Donald Trump

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